Australian Native Natalie Bell Creates Customized “Bellt Alert” Covers Inspired by Daughter’s Cochlear Implant
Most mothers do all that they can for their children and Natalie Bell is no different. As a mother of five, Bell is always thinking of her kids, who in turn inspire her to reach for more out of life. Bell lives in Beaconsfield Upper Melbourne Victoria, Australia.
Bells days usually start with getting her two oldest children ready for school then dropping them off. Then she runs around after the two youngest ones, cleaning, shopping, and then before she knows it, the older kids are home from school.
Although her mind and body is always moving, Bell still finds time to do what she wants.
A few months ago, Bell started personalizing items to keep herself occupied while at home, since she decided to quit her job to become a stay-at-home mother while also running a jumping castle/party hire business, mainly on the weekends. She never thought that her business Personalised by Nat would become such as success, and it all was inspired by her daughter Shae.
Shae was born with a moderate hearing loss but by the time she was one, she lost most of her hearing. Since Bell knew about her daughter’s condition, she learned Auslan, Australian Sign Language. Currently, Shae has severe loss in her right ear and a profound hearing loss in her left ear. Shae had her first hearing aid at the age of two months through Australian Hearing—the largest provider of government-funding hearing services in Australia.
“They have been very patient with Shae when doing the hearing tests and making up new moulds for her hearing aids,” Natalie said about the care Australian Hearing provides to Shae. Although Shae experiences good care, her journey hasn’t been the easiest.
Shae had lots of ear infections after she started wearing her hearing aids. There where months at a time she couldn’t wear her hearing aids and would end up at the children’s hospital for Postnasal drip—production of excess or abnormally thick mucus from glands within the lining of your nasal passages, which can cause irritation in the ears—or to have operations to stop her ear infections, which had a big impact on her speech.
It was just before Shae’s fifth birthday when she received the cochlear implant—a surgically implanted device that provides a sense of sound to a person with moderate to profound hearing loss. Bell remembers returning home after the surgery with her daughter and opening a window.
“Shae had never been able to hear them open until receiving the implant. Her face lit up and she started dancing thinking it was music,” said Bell. “A few days later, we were going for a walk and several birds were flying around [and] Shae could hear them but couldn’t work out what it was, until I pointed them out. Again, her face had lit up as she jumped up and down overly happy that she had been able to hear the birds.”
Through Shae’s hearing journey, Bell was inspired to create customized seat belt covers that would speak for her daughter when Shae or her mother couldn’t if some tragic accident were to occur.
Personalised by Nat now sells “Bellt Alerts”, which are seat belt covers that say messages such as “I am deaf. I have a cochlear implant. No MRI.” or “I have Alzheimer’s, I may resist.”
Bell created Bellt Alert seat covers with the sole purpose of keeping her daughter safe, but now she wants any individual with a disability to have the option of Bellt Alert.
“I personalized a set of seat belt covers which specify important medical details so that first respondents have vital information relating to my daughter. Because of this implant, it is important she is not exposed to the magnetic field of an MRI which can do damage,” said Bell. “Doing this has made me realise an urgent need in the community for these products and their popularity has proven this.”
She continued: “I am able to personalize your seat belt covers for any number of conditions that may relate to your loved one's treatment in the event of an emergency. Our seatbelt straps are portable so they can also be used on school or hiking backpack straps, bus seat belts or any vehicle.”
According to Bell, Bellt Alerts are easy to fit due to them being made out of velcro, making them available to a number of places.
Bell also has other customized products available, such as her Auslin inspired clock or baby comforters.
To purchase a Bellt Alert cover, or any items by Personalised by Nat, visit here.